Impact and RCUK
In Spring 2009, Research Councils UK (RCUK) incorporated some new elements into research grant applications.
These new requirements encourage investigators to consider the potential use and impact of their research at application stage. If beneficiaries are identified in the early stages of designing the research, appropriate plans for user-engagement and dissemination can be thought out and incorporated into work plans and budgets. Investigators are asked to identify prospective beneficiaries both within and outside academia, and to set out clear plans for engaging with these groups.
These documents now form part of the overall peer review assessment process for Research Councils. Reviewers are asked to consider whether the Impact Summary and Pathways are appropriate and justified in terms of the nature of the proposed research.
Research Councils will continue to fund so-called ‘blue skies’ or curiosity driven research, and research excellence remains the primary criterion for making decisions on funding. However, they receive £3 billion (per annum) of public funds and have agreed to provide more evidence to government about the impact of their funded research.
Advice on how to complete these sections on your grant application is provided in the web pages on 'Who will be interested in the results?'.
The policy background for these changes include
2006 Warry Economic Impact Report Challenges the Research Councils to “make strenuous efforts to demonstrate more clearly the impact they already achieve from their investments.”
2007 RCUK published Increasing the Economic Impact of the Research Councils. This outlined how the Councils aim to respond to the challenge of the "Warry" report on economic impact and announced the nomination of Professor Philip Esler, the Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Council to drive this agenda forward.
RCUK have devised a toolkit to help researchers understand and respond to the new impact requirements.
RCUK Typology Diagram (pdf)